The China Navigation Company (CNCo) enjoys a rich heritage; it was founded in 1872 where it operated Mississippi-style paddle-steamers on China’s Yangtze River. As the shipping arm and oldest operating entity of the Swire group, CNCo has grown in tandem with the global economy. Today, it is headquartered in Singapore. It owns and manages a sizeable deep-sea fleet of multi-purpose, container and bulk vessels and has an extensive network of liner, bulk, logistics and shipping agency businesses globally.

John Swire and Sons Limited, our parent company, is headquartered in London. It holds controlling stakes in a range of businesses trading in the UK, North America, Australia, Papua New Guinea, East and West Africa, and across Southeast Asia.

Read more about how CNCo was established here. This was produced to celebrate the opening of CNCo's Shanghai office in November 2018. 

CNCo's history

1800s
1900 - 1929
1930 - 1959
1960s
1970s
1980s
1990s
2000 - 2010
2011 - 2020

The China Navigation Company (CNCo)’s parent company, John Swire & Sons Limited, has its origins in a small Liverpool trading house.

1816

John Samuel Swire (1825-1898) opened his first Far Eastern agency in Shanghai.

1866

John Swire & Sons established CNCo in London - initially to operate ships on the Yangtze River, but soon expanding to the China coast, around Asia and beyond.

1872

"Tunsin" is the first vessel to sail under the CNCo flag while s s. Pekin was the first ship to be built for CNCo.

1873

CNCo enters the Canton River trade with paddle-steamer "Ichang".

1875

CNCo's earliest connection with New Zealand was "Hoihow I" (1880-1922) which arrived in Wellington on 28 July 1883.

1883

CNCo started a liner service to Japan while the steel screw-steamer "Tungchow" was recognised as the fastest vessel in the CNCo's fleet.

1886

Carriage of immigrant labour from South China to Singapore and Penang.

Late 1800s

In the 20th century, charter trade became increasingly overshadowed by interport liner services.

1900s

The launch of the new steamer "Shuntien".

1904

The launch of the steel screw steamer "Fengtien".

1905

The "Shasi" is the first vessel built by Taikoo Dockyard for The China Navigation Company (CNCo).

1910

CNCo opened a route from Xiamen via Hongkong to Singapore.

1918

The 1920s saw the CNCo fleet reaching a peak of more than 80 vessels...

1920s

CNCo entered the Upper Yangtze River trade.

1922

Coping with challenges such as disputes over increased pay, dealing with demands from workmen and falling victim to outrages perpetrated on foreign shipping.

1930

A period of depression resulted in a reduction of salaries. The China Navigation Company (CNCo) also undertook the transportation of foodstuffs to feed 5 million flood refugees in Hankow.

1931

CNCo is thought to be the first to place guards for protection against pirates on its passenger steamers.

1934

All steamers of CNCo now accepts passengers from and to Hong Kong.

1935

Captain Leyton's maiden voyage on MV "Yunnan".

1939

Pioneered 'new' trading routes from Australia to Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands

1945

CNCo acquired monopoly of Straits-Jeddah pilgrim service from Blue Funnel.

1953

CNCo and Blue Funnel formed a joint Western Australia service.

1958

Introduction of a revolutionary new method of cargo carrying to these Pacific trades - "Unitisation"

1960s

"Kuala Lumpur" is the largest ship that The China Navigation Company (CNCo) ever owned.

1960

Inauguration of the first regular direct service from Hong Kong and Taiwan to New Zealand.

1961

Guam became a regular port call for the SPS vessels.

1962- 1963

Chefoo ("Chefoo II") arrived from Japan with 250,000 gallons of water.

1963

The launch of the 10,000-ton s.s."Hunan".

1965

Adoption of a new symbol to reflect "C.N.Co."

1966

CNCo sold and delivered its two smallest ships "Shansi" and "Soochow" to Pacific International Lines of Singapore.

1967

Transitioning from the 1960s to 1970s through the diversification of its scope of activities.

1970s

The launch of "Coral Princess" and "Erawan".

1970

To mark the centenary of The China Navigation Company (CNCo), JS&S presented a 71 ft fibreglass ketch to the Ocean Youth Club in Scotland.

1971

CNCo had their first month-long cruise and "Coral Princess" became the first foreign cruise ship to visit China.

1973

MS "Eriskay" became the first JS&S ship to pass round Cape Horn, the southern-most tip of South America.

1974

Prince Tomohito of Japan travelled on China Navigation's vessel "Coral Princess".

1975

CNCo and Cathay Pacific presented an historic ship's bell to the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.

1976

The China Navigation Company (CNCo) further diversified its expertise in the 1980s.

1980s

CNCo ordered a 39,900 metric-tonne bulk carrier.

1980

A new liner service between Japan and the South Pacific Islands was introduced. "Lindblad Explorer" became the first tourist ship to cross the South Magnetic Pole.

1981

Investment of over US$85 million in newbuildings represented the largest single order ever made by CNCo.

1988

During the 1990s, The China Navigation Company (CNCo)’s liner trades expanded rapidly, but the focus of management activity moved away from its head office in Hong Kong.

1990s

CNCo placed orders for two new container vessels intended to serve feeder routes or small liner trades in the Asia-Pacific region. 

1993

CNCo named the latest addition to its fleet and the 162,000 dwt bulk carrier "Erradale".

1994

CNCo ordered a second newbuilding from Korean shipbuilder Daesun Yard.

1995

CNCo officially left the oil tanker market after a decade of successful chartering to oil majors of its two-ship tanker fleet.

1996

CNCo marked its 125th birthday on 31 January with a small dinner party and a commemorative gift for each of its staff.

1997

CNCo apppointed its first female Ship's Captain.

1998

The China Navigation Company (CNCo) purchased an 18-year-old, Japanese-built Panamax bulk carrier, "Erawan" for a seven-year charter in Papua New Guinea.

2000

A new liner monthly service was introduced in September 2001, under the trade name Komodo Dragon Line (KDL).

2001

CNCo expanded its portfolio of Pacific basis trades and multi-purpose liner trade to the USA East and Gulf coasts, India and Saudi Arabia through the acquisitions of Bank Line and Indotrans liner service respectively.

2003

New Guinea Australia Line became a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNCo.

2004

CNCo consolidated some of its liner shipping services under a newly-incorporated umbrella entity, Swire Shipping.

2006

CNCo formed Swire CTM Bulk Logistics and Swire Shipping Limited (SSL) established a new multipurpose liner service linking North Asia to Australia.

2008

CNCo's efforts were recognised with several industry awards.

2009

CNCo's new headquarters at the Concourse Building, Singapore, was officially opened on 8 March.

2010

The China Navigation Company (CNCo) decided to rename it's fleet after Chinese cities or provinces.

2011

CNCo was awarded the prestigious AMVER Assisted Rescue at Sea Award.

2012

CNCo has confirmed an order for four firm, plus four options, Chief22 Class vessels from Zhejiang Ouhua Shipyard.

2013

CNCo has signed contracts for four 37,800dwt log-fitted, handy-size bulk carriers.

2014

Swire Bulk Logistics partnered with Golden Bay Cement (GBC) to build CNCo's first dedicated, self-discharging cement carrier.

2015

Swire Shipping launched the first direct service linking Fiji with Port Moresby.

2016

CNCo was the lead company in the Sustainable Shipping Initiative's Sustainable Ship Recycling Working Group.

2017

CNCo signs the "Moana Taka Partnership to address critical waste management issues.

2018

The sale of Hamburg Süd’s dry bulk shipping business was completed.

2019

CNCo announced it will separate out its dry bulk shipping activities.

2020

1816

The China Navigation Company (CNCo)’s parent company, John Swire & Sons Limited, has its origins in a small Liverpool trading house.

 

1866

John Samuel Swire (1825-1898) opened his first Far Eastern agency in Shanghai.

1872

John Swire & Sons established CNCo in London - initially to operate ships on the Yangtze River, but soon expanding to the China coast, around Asia and beyond.

187200-JSS-CN-2011-00028.jpg

1873

  • "Tunsin" is the first vessel to sail under the CNCo flag.​

187302-TUNSIN-(2).jpg

  • The first ship to be built for CNCo was the s.s. Pekin, a paddle steamer built by A. & J. Inglis in 1873 for service on the lower Yangtze.

187303-43_Pekin-at-Hankow-1906_CMYK_R4-(1).jpg

 

 

 

1875

CNCo enters the Canton River trade with "Ichang", a paddle-steamer.

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1883

CNCo's earliest connection with New Zealand was "Hoihow I" (1880-1922) which arrived in Wellington on 28 July 1883 from Foochow with tea for a number of ports.

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1886

  • CNCo started a liner service to Japan carrying Tai-Koo Sugar northbound from Hong Kong and lifting rice for Australia.

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  • The steel screw-steamer "Tungchow" of 1,502 registered tonnage was built at Greenock for the China Navigation Co. The "Tungchow" was recognised as the fastest vessel in the CNCo's fleet.

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Late 1800s

From the late 19th century, CNCo was involved in the carriage of immigrant labour from South China to Singapore and Penang, until trade was halted in 1949.

190000-Deck-Passengers-c1904.jpg

1900s

Taikoo "beancakers" were still to be seen in Newchang and Swatow, though this charter trade, by far the most important of The China Navigation Company (CNCo)'s on the coast in the 19th century, had in the 20th century become increasingly overshadowed in importance by the Company's scheduled interport liner services.

1904

The new steamer Shuntien, built for CNCo, launched at Greenock with a carrying capacity of 2,000 tonnes and triple-expansion engines.

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1905

The Fengtien for CNCo, a steel screw steamer, was launched from Scott's of Greenock. She was constructed in the short time of 15 weeks.

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1910

The Shasi was the first vessel built by Taikoo Dockyard for CNCo.

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1914

The steamer "Tungchow" built to the order of CNCo for their Shanghai-Tientsin trade was launched at Taikoo Dockyard. The Tungchow marked a step forward in the class because it was 30 ft. longer than its namesake the former Tungchow, which was formerly a favourite ship on the runs.

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1918

CNCo opened a route from Xiamen via Hongkong to Singapore.

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1920s

Under the stewardship of John Samuel Swire's two sons, the 1920s saw the CNCo fleet reaching a peak of more than 80 vessels and Taikoo Sugar becoming the brand of choice in China.

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1922

CNCo entered the Upper Yangtze River trade.

1930

  • The British steamship companies, the Indo-China Steam Navigation Co. and The China Navigation Company (CNCo), were unable to reach agreements with the pilots on the Upper Yangtze over increased pay. As a result of the failure of the negotiations, eight vessels belonging to CNCo and three belonging to the Indo-China laid idle in Shanghai for more than a month; while the Chinese, American and Japanese companies did a remunerative business and reaped huge profits as they agreed to the pay rise and had thereafter resumed their services.
  • CNCo and five other plying vessels were faced with a list of demands from workmen involved in handling the freight. The workmen demanded to receive five per cent on all outgoing freight destined to the Straits Settlements, Java, Siam and Rangoon.

    The companies immediately formed a combine for their own protection and refused to accept any freight  to the above places. They claimed that they would continue to do so until these unjust demands were removed and they were guaranteed that similar future demands, lock-outs and boycotts cease.

  • The s.s. Chungking owned by CNCo was one of the latest victims that had been fired on by guns manned by the "Reds" in the neighbourhood of Wusueh, Hankow, which were responsible for a number of outrages perpetrated on foreign shipping.

  • An official of CNCo reported that a definite statement regarding increased pay and rice allowances for seamen had not yet been reached but a satisfactory compromise should be expected soon, following reports of seamen approaching their employers through the Chinese Seamen's Union for increased pay and rice allowance and that of potential strike among the Chinese circles at Shanghai. Four demands in total were presented, one of which stated that the companies concerned should grant each seaman $4 monthly as a rice allowance as from 1 September, and the other from 1 Mar 1931, an increase of $2 a month should be made to each seaman. In return, the Seamen's Union would do everything to further the business of the companies concerned.

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1931

  • CNCo declared a reduction of 10 per cent on salaries which took effect as from 1 August. This announcement coincided with a period of depression and other companies, including the Indo-China Steam Navigation Co and Jardine Matheson & Co., also declaring a drastic reduction of salaries of their officers.
  • CNCo, along with five other local shipping companies, would act under the instructions from the Chiaotungpu and undertake the transportation of foodstuffs from Shanghai to the flooded areas in Hankow free of charge from the beginning of October. It was reported that the consignment is sufficient to feed 5,000,000 flood refugees for a period of six months.

1934

  • The three large (CNCo, China Merchants S. N. Co, and Jardine Matheson & Co) and 15 small Chinese shipping companies engaged in transporting cargo to northern coastal ports of China cooperated on an agreement concerning the freight charges on flour and rice.
  • CNCo was thought to be the first to place guards for protection against pirates on three of its fast passenger steamers at the end of July 1934 following the pirating of the s.s. Shuntien ("Shuntien II"). The three ships which carried guards were the Shuntien, the Tungchow and the Shengking. Each vessel would have a squad of five picked guards who had been members of the French Municipal Police and armed with Mauser automatic pistols.

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1935

From 1 July all steamers of CNCo could accept passengers from and to Hongkong, under the new ruling that certificates issued by competent Chinese authorities to mercantile marine officers and engineers were accepted by the Hongkong Government from 1 July as well as equivalent to those issued by its own authorities.

1939

CNCo and Steamships worked together for over 70 years in Papua New Guinea commencing with Captain Leyton's maiden voyage on MV "Yunnan" in 1939.

193900-Yunnan-III.jpg

1945

After World War II, CNCo began to pioneer ‘new’ trading routes from Australia to Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands - a region that became the focus for CNCo’s owned and managed trades.

1953

CNCo acquired the monopoly of the Straits-Jeddah pilgrim service from Blue Funnel.

1958

CNCo and Blue Funnel formed a joint Western Australia service in 1958.

1960s

A revolutionary new method of cargo carrying to the Pacific trades was carried out. “Unitisation” involved palletised cargo carried in specially adapted ships fitted with side ports and worked with forklift trucks carried on board, and was ideally suited to island ports where shore facilities were minimal.

1960

The China Navigation Company (CNCo) bought the twin screw motor ship "Dilwara" from British India S.N. Co. and renamed it "Kuala Lumpur". The vessel would carry Malay pilgrims to Jeddah and back for eight months in the year, and for the remaining four months, it would be used for first-class cruising out of Fremantle. "Kuala Lumpur" would be the largest ship that CNCo has ever owned.

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1961

CNCo inaugurated its first regular direct service from Hong Kong and Taiwan to New Zealand with Kweichow ("Kweichow I") and Kwangsi ("Kwangsi I"). It became the first regular liner link for New Zealand exports and imports to the growing markets of Asia.

196100-Kweichow-I-at-Dunedin-NZ-25-04-62.jpg

1962- 1963

CNCo broke new ground at Guam, which became a regular port call for the southbound SPS vessels.

1963

Chefoo ("Chefoo II") arrived from Japan with 250,000 gallons for Colony soft drink manufacturers. This was Hong Kong's first shipment of imported water purchased on a commercial basis (but carried freight free). In this case, the water was for A. S. Watson & Co., the well-known aerated water manufacturers.

196300-Chefoo-II-lo-res.jpg

1965

The 10,000-ton s.s. "Hunan" launched for CNCo at Taikoo Dock by Lady Trench, wife of the Governor of Hong Kong. Hunan was not only the largest and most powerful ship which CNCo had ever ordered, but also the most expensive. It is the 43rd CNCo's ship to be built in Taikoo Dockyard and the 10th since the war. It was expected to come into service in March 1966.

196500-Hunan-23Oct1965.PNG

 

 

1966

CNCo adopted a new symbol to reflect "C.N.Co." - the general practice in speech. It replaced "C.N.C" which people spoke of before the war.

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1967

  • CNCo sold and delivered its two smallest ships "Shansi" and "Soochow" to Pacific International Lines of Singapore.

196700-Launch-of-Shansi-1946.jpg

196701-Sph635_Shansi_II_(1947-1967).jpg

  • CNCo was now jointly owned by John Swire & Sons Ltd and Ocean Steamship Co., Ltd; each company held 50% of the shares. Management of CNCo remained in the hands of John Swire & Sons and Eastern Management with B&S. CNCo would continue to operate independently.
  • CNCo pioneered Unit Load cargo carrying in Papua New Guinea with "Papuan Chief", which was converted to a sideport loading by Taikoo Dockyard.

196702-Papuan-Chief-I-First-Day-Cover-1975.jpg

1970s

The 1960s and 70s saw The China Navigation Company (CNCo) diversifying its scope of activities in two other very different directions. In the 1960s, CNCo developed a passenger cruising business creating a niche market operating seminar cruises out of Japan and successfully dominated this market for almost 20 years. The early 1970s saw CNCo begin to invest seriously in the dry bulk carrier market. This was a move that marked the company’s first departure from a traditional owner/operator role to that of ship manager; with a succession of vessels, ranging from Handymax to Capesize, chartered into some of the world’s leading bulk pools.

In the late 1970s, CNCo repeated the trick by upgrading these services to full containerisation, using self-geared vessels fitted with mobile gantry cranes – an innovative approach at that time.  

1970

  • CNCo purchased "Princesa Leopoldina" from Lloyd Brasiliero and was expected to run partly on charter and partly on liner services out of Japan in June 1971. The ship was renamed "Coral Princess" and was the Company's first full-time cruise ship.

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  • CNCo's "Erawan" was launched by Mrs. M. Y. Fiennes at the South Dock shipyard of Pickersgill Ltd., Sunderland. "Erawan" is a Thai word meaning sacred elephant and it was the first vessel in the history of John Swire & Sons to bear this name. It was designed for worldwide trading and was fully equipped for navigating the St. Lawrence Seaway and for carrying timber.

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197004-Erawan-(1).jpg

1971

To mark the centenary of CNCo, JS&S presented a 71 ft fibreglass ketch to the Ocean Youth Club in Scotland. The ketch was appropriately named Taikoo and was one of seven such ketches owned by the OYC operating around the British Isles.

197200-Ketch-Taikoo-(1).PNG

1973

In 1973 CNCo had their first month-long cruise which went as far as Singapore, with calls at Hong Kong, Bangkok and Manila. Also in the same year "Coral Princess" had the privilege of being the first foreign cruise ship to visit China.

197300-Coral-Princess-at-Hong-Kong-(1).jpg

1974

MS "Eriskay", a 19,000-tonne CNCo bulk carrier chartered to Japan Line since June 1969, became the first JS&S ship to pass round Cape Horn, the southern most tip of South America.

197400-Eriskay-1971.jpg

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1975

  • CNCo introduced a new ship, the "Chohaku Maru", on the Japan-Thailand service. "Chohaku Maru" was custom-built to the requirements of CNCo's Japan agents, Swire Mackinnon, for long-term charter to CNCo.

197500-Chohaku-Maru.PNG

  • Prince Tomohito of Japan travelled on CNCo's vessel "Coral Princess" as a member of an Asian Youth voyage. The cruise on which the prince travelled was the 100th undertaken by the "Coral Princess" from Japan since her inauguration in July 1971. In that time she carried more than 40,000 passengers.

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  • Swire Ship Management, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of John Swire & Sons (HK) Ltd, was set up to take over the fleet management services work which CNCo has done for many years.
  • John Swire & Sons repurchased Ocean's 50% shareholding in CNCo, and CNCo became a wholly-owned subsidiary of John Swire & Sons Ltd of London.

1976

CNCo and Cathay Pacific presented an historic ship's bell to the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. The bell was from the former CNCo ship, the "Hanyang", which was taken out of service in 1964.

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1980s

The mid-1980s saw another new departure for The China Navigation Company (CNCo), and the beginning of a highly successful, decade-long involvement in the VLCC market, with two owned and managed vessels traded on long-term charter to oil majors. This helped the Company to further diversify its expertise.

1980

CNCo ordered a 39,900 metric-tonne bulk carrier from Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Co., Ltd of Japan. The vessel, which was to be built by Mitsui at their Tamano yard on the inland sea of Japan, was due for delivery in September 1981.

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1981

  • CNCo formed a consortium with two major Japanese lines to operate a liner service between Japan and the South Pacific islands. The Japanese partners were Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOSK) and Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK).
  • "Lindblad Explorer", an ice-strengthened vessel jointly owned by CNCo and Lindblad Travel, was the first tourist ship to cross the South Magnetic Pole.

198100-Linblad-Explorer.jpg

1988

  • CNCo contracted a further two container ships with Mitsubishi Corporation to be delivered in mid to late 1990 and would be deployed in CNCo's Pacific Basin trades.
  • During the course of the year, orders were placed in Japan for four (subsequently increased to five) geared container ship newbuildings and each with a capacity of 635 TEUs. Deliveries would begin in early 1990 and the ships would be deployed in regional trade within the Pacific area. These newbuildings, involving an investment of over US$85 million, represented the largest single order ever made by CNCo and underlined the Company's commitment to container shipping in the Pacific.

1990s

During the 1990s, The China Navigation Company (CNCo)’s liner trades expanded rapidly, but the focus of management activity moved away from its head office in Hong Kong. Asia Australia Express (AAE) merged with Australia Japan Container Line (AJCL), and thereafter Crusader Swire Container Service (CSCS) merged with New Zealand Unit Express (NZUE) coming under the aegis of a common P&O Swire Containers office in Sydney from 1991. Management of New Guinea Pacific Line (NGPL) moved from Hong Kong – via a three-year joint venture with Bank Line and Columbus Line in Singapore – and was consolidated with that of Chief Container Service (CCS) in the Swire Shipping Offices in Sydney in1993. With the initiation of a trans-Tasman service in 1999, Swire in Sydney became a natural focus for management of this trade too. Meanwhile, CNCo’s interests in the New Zealand markets hinged on its shareholding in first, Tasman Asia, and later, Tasman Orient Line – both headquartered in Auckland.

1991

  • "Chengtu" was launched on 15 February at Miho Shipyard, Shimizu, Japan, jointly by Miss Rebecca and Miss Martha Swire, daughters of Sir John and Sir Adrian Swire respectively. "Chengtu" was the last ship in the series of five similar newbuildings ordered by CNCo from Miho.

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  • CNCo signed a contract with the renowned Belfast Shipbuilder, Harland and Wolff, for the construction of three 162,000dwt Capesize bulk carriers, with the first of these ships due to be delivered at the end of 1993.

199101-Signing-Ceremony.PNG

1993

CNCo placed orders for two new container vessels intended to serve feeder routes or small liner trades in the Asia-Pacific region. 

1994

  • CNCo named the latest addition to its fleet, the 162,000 dwt bulk carrier "Erradale", at Harland & Wolff Shipbuilding and Heavy Industries Limited, in Belfast. The ceremony was performed by Lady Judith Swire, wife of Group Chairman Sir Adrian Swire, on 20 January 1994.

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  • "Erradale" was the largest vessel ever built for the Group and was the Group's 195th newbuilding since CNCo's formation in 1872. It was delivered to CNCo on 5 April 1994.

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  • Dong Young Shipping (a 50-50 joint venture between CNCo/Swire Group and Dong Young Express Co. Ltd established in 1974) placed an order for a newbuilding from Daesun Yard.

1995

CNCo ordered a second newbuilding from Korean shipbuilder, Daesun Yard, in anticipation of a continuing firm market for small container feeder services in the Asia Pacific region.

1996

Following the delivery of its 273,941dwt VLCC (very large crude carrier) "Eredine" to her new owners Pyxis transport Limited in early October 1996, CNCo officially left the oil tanker market after a decade of successful chartering to oil majors of its two-ship tanker fleet. "Eriskay", CNCo's first VLCC, was sold in 1995.

1996-Eriskay_I.jpg

1997

CNCo marked its 125th birthday on 31 January.

1998

CNCo appointed its first female Ship's Captain.

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2000

The China Navigation Company (CNCo) purchased an 18-year-old, Japanese-built Panamax bulk carrier, "Erawan" (ex "Camerina") for a seven-year charter with Ok Tedi Mining Limited in Papua New Guinea.

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2001

CNCo and Swire Shipping commenced a new liner monthly service in September 2001, under the trade name Komodo Dragon Line (KDL). The service linked two principal ports in Japan to the Indonesian archipelago, with additional direct calls to ports in Korea, the Philippines, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and East Timor being subject to inducement.

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2003

  • On 15 August 2003, CNCo completed the acquisition of Bank Line from Andrew Weir Shipping, adding to its portfolio of Pacific basin trades. It acquired the Bank Line trade name and fleet of containers, as well as shareholdings in two Bank Line subsidiaries in the Solomon Islands.

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  • CNCo acquired the Indotrans liner service from German owner Egon Oldendorff in December 2003, thereby extending its multi-purpose liner trade footprint to the USA East and Gulf coasts, India and Saudi Arabia.
  • In addition to the acquisition of Indotrans liner service, CNCo also purchased four Oldendorff vessels - "Indotrans Java" (ex "Gitta Oldendorff), "Indotrans Flores" (ex "Ingrid Oldendorff), "Indotrans Celebes" (ex "Albert Oldendorff), and "Indotrans Makassar" (ex "Edward Oldendorff").​

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2004

On 1 April 2004, New Guinea Australia Line, based in Port Moresby, became a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNCo.

2006

CNCo consolidated a number of its liner shipping services under a newly-incorporated umbrella entity, Swire Shipping. The move formalised an agreement that has been in place for some time, under which the Swire Shipping name was used to cover APIL, Chief Container Services (CCS), Crocodile Line, Indotrans, Indotrans Pacific and New Guinea Pacific Lines. These names would now be 'retired'. The service framework and existing network of management offices remained unchanged. The Bank Line would be temporarily retained as a sub-brand before gradually phased out during 2007.

Greater Bali Hai, New Guinea Pacific Line, Japan South Pacific Line and Tasman Orient Line were not included in the rationalisation due to separate shareholding structures, and would continue to trade under their current names.

2008

  • CNCo formed Swire CTM Bulk Logistics, a 50/50 joint venture with Monaco-based C Transport Maritime (CTM), the commercial arm of DryLog, a 100% subsidiary of Ceres Shipping.

Erawan_PNG-(1).jpg

  • Swire Shipping Limited (SSL) established a new multipurpose liner service linking North Asia to Australia by extending its Australia to South Pacific Islands (SPI) operation on to Guam, Shanghai and Busan.

2009

  • CNCo's efforts in engaging stakeholders as demonstrated in the 2008 Environmental Report were recognised with several industry awards. These included a commendation for addressing sectoral issues in the 2008 ACCA awards for Sustainability Reporting and a certificate of merit in the Hong Kong Awards for Environmental Excellence.

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  • CNCo closed its office in Hong Kong and shifted the strategic management of its business to Singapore at the end of 2009. In doing so, the Swire Shipping liner trades management from Sydney were also integrated into the new organization.
  • The China Navigation Company Pte. Limited became the new corporate vehicle to be operated in Singapore; the ownership of all vessels (with the exception of "Erawan" ("Erawan II"), at least for the moment) were transferred into the new company.

2010

  • CNCo's new headquarters at the Concourse Building on Beach Road, Singapore, was officially opened on 8 March by Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Singapore's Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and 2nd Minister for Finance and Transport. This event coincided with a visit from London by James Hughes-Hallett, Chairman of John Swire & Sons Ltd and he, too, was able to take an active part in the proceedings.

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  • At the end of 2010, CNCo announced its order for eight multipurpose vessels of 31,000 deadweight tonnes (valued at a total of US$300 million). These were to be built at Zhejiang Ouhua Shipbuilding Co. Limited on Zhoushan Island in mainland China. The vessels were to be delivered in 2013, and the contract also contained provisions for up to an additional eight optional vessels in continuation.

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2011

  • The China Navigation Company (CNCo) commenced an unprecedented a newbuilding programme to replace its entire fleet over four years. In total, 12 multipurpose vessels and 28 handy-size bulk carriers were ordered  for delivery between 2013 and 2016. All but four of the ships were constructed at Mainland Chinese shipyards.
  • A decision was taken to rename the CNCo-owned fleet with the company's historical ship naming convention of after Chinese cities or provinces. The exception was "Erawan" ("Erawan II").

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  • Four 42,000dwt "D" Class vessels - "Pacific Java" (ex "Indotrans Java"), "Pacific Makassar" (ex "Indotrans Makassar"), and "Pacific Celebes" (ex "Indotrans Celebes") - would be redeployed successively from Swire Shipping's West Coast North America (WCNA) service to CNCo's new Handy Bulk Division (HBD) with effect from November 2011.

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2012

  • CNCo confirmed an order with Chengxi Shipyard for four B.Delta37 eco-handysize bulk carriers (plus four, plus two optional vessels): the new "W" Class.
  • CNCo formally initiated the "S" Class new building programme with a steel-cutting ceremony at Zhejiang Ouhua Shipbuilding Company on 10 March.
  • CNCo received the prestigious AMVER Assisted Rescue at Sea Award and the Safety Award in the annual Lloyd's List Global Awards held in Singapore.

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  • Swire Shipping  won the Liner Trade Award for the Australia to New Zealand / Pacific Islands / PNG route and the Lloyd's New Generation Award at the Lloyd's List Australia Awards ceremony held in Sydney on 28 November.
  • CNCo confirmed an order for four more 39,500dwt Deltamarin-designed B.Delta37 handy-size bulk carriers which were to be built at Chengxi Shipyard in mainland China, in addition to the four vessels contracted in March 2013. The eight vessels were scheduled for delivery between August 2013 and December 2014. CNCo and Chengxi agreed an additional eight options to be declared in 2013.

2013

  • CNCo and Steamships mutually agreed that the provision of shipping agency services would be more appropriately managed by CNCo in the future. From January 2013, CNCo would take over the six agency offices in Papua New Guinea including Port Moresby, Lae, Madang, Rabaul, Oro Bay and Kavieng.
  • CNCo was one of a number of local Hong Kong and international ship owners and operators who  signed the Fair Winds Charter (FWC); an initiative that recognised the effect of ship emissions on air quality in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region.
  • CNCo confirmed an order for four firm, plus four options, Chief22 Class vessels from Zhejiang Ouhua Shipyard. These vessels would enter the Australia-PNG service in the first quarter of 2015.
  • CNCo held naming ceremonies for MV "Shansi" and MV "Shantung"; the first of its new series of eight 31,000dwt multipurpose vessels built at Zhejiang Ouhua Shipyard in mainland China. They were the 201st and 202nd vessels to be built for CNCo during its 141-year history and the first new vessels built by the new company since 1997.

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2014

  • CNCo acquired Pacifica Shipping, the leading domestic liner operator in New Zealand.​

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  • "Soochow" was delivered on 16 January and departed on 21 January for Shanghai. "Soochow" was on the NAT service together with "Shansi", "Shantung" and "Shaoshing", and was the replacement for the charter vessel "San Rafael".

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  • Swire Shipping received the Ship Owner / Operator Award for the second year running at the Seatrade Asia Awards held in Singapore on 6 Apr.

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  • The last of CNCo's eight "S" Class - MV "Szechuen", a 31,000dwt multipurpose vessel built by Zhejiang Ouhua Shipyard, was officially named on her maiden voyage at Singapore's Jurong Port on 8 May. She was CNCo's 212th newbuilding and the fifth vessel of this name ("Szechuen") to be owned by the company. Ms Tan Beng Tee, Assistant Chief Executive of Development at the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore, performed the traditional naming ceremony.

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  • CNCo signed contracts for four 37,800dwt log-fitted, handy-size bulk carriers to be built at Imabari Shipbuilding Co. Ltd in Japan. The vessels would be delivered in 2016 and would be deployed in CNCo's dry bulk division, Swire Bulk, operating on a worldwide basis.

2015

  • In accordance with the strategic plan for Swire Bulk Logistics, CNCo acquired a 25.68% stake in PT Mitrabahtera Segara Sejati Tbk (MBSS), Indonesia's leading provider of integrated marine logistics services.
  • Swire Bulk Logistics entered into a long-term partnership with New Zealand's largest cement manufacturer, Golden Bay Cement (GBC), a trading division of Fletcher Building Limited - to build, own and operate a dedicated, self-discharging cement carrier. The 9,000dwt vessel, "Aotearoa Chief", would be built at Jinling Shipyard in mainland China and was expected to commence operations in late 2016. It was CNCo's first such vessel. Read more >

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2016

  • CNCo's Polynesia Line commenced direct calls into Nuku'alofa, the capital of the Kingdom of Tonga, in March.  The service offered a 14-day transit from the US West Coast ports of Long Beach and Oakland, making it the first service to connect Tonga directly to the US West Coast since the 1980s. Read more > 

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  • Swire Shipping launched a monthly direct call from New Zealand and Fiji to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, starting from May. It would be the only direct service linking Fiji with Port Moresby. Read more >

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  • CNCo completed its unprecedented four-year newbuilding programme with the delivery of bulk carrier MV "Tunsin", its 241st newbuilding, on the naming ceremony on 16 November. The ship's sponsor was Sara Cutler, wife of retired John Swire & Sons Ltd Staff Director, Robert Cutler. Read more >

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2017

CNCo was the lead company in the Sustainable Shipping Initiative's Sustainable Ship Recycling Working Group.

2018

  • CNCo signed a MOU with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment to address critical waste management issues in the Pacific islands. Known as the “Moana Taka Partnership”, this MOU allowed for CNCo vessels to carry containers of recyclable waste from eligible Pacific island ports, pro bono, to be sustainably treated and recycled in suitable ports in the Asia Pacific. It would go on to win the Environmental Innovation Award at the Seatrade Maritime Awards in June 2020. Read more >

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  • CNCo expanded its North America presence with a new office in Vancouver; its biggest in North America. The opening ceremony was graced by The Honourable, Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade & Technology, British Columbia. Read more >

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  • CNCo opened its China headquarters officially in Shanghai on 05 November, marking a significant return to its birthplace 147 years ago, marking a significant milestone in its history. Read more >
  • The University of the South Pacific (USP) and CNCo signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to conduct feasibility studies for the design costs and plan for new generation ships for the Pacific region which is committed to low carbon sea transport. Read more >

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  • CNCo welcomed its first batch of female cadets from Papua New Guinea (PNG) in October, as part of its efforts to develop local talent and improve gender diversity of its workforce. On 28 October, the deck cadets joined their first deep sea vessel, MV Szechuen, at Port Moresby. Read more >

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2019

Hamburg Süd and CNCo completed the sale of Hamburg Süd’s dry bulk shipping business, which included Rudolf A. Oetker (RAO) and the bulk activities in Furness Withy (London and Melbourne) and Aliança Navegação e Logística, to CNCo after receiving regulatory approval. The sale was announced in January. Read more >

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2020

CNCo announced it would separate out its dry bulk shipping activities; Swire Bulk would become an independent entity on 1 January 2021. Read more >

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